Edinburgh’s Museum of Fire ‘should stay in city centre’

There's a campaign to keep the Museum of Fire in its current location. Picture: Greg Macvean
There's a campaign to keep the Museum of Fire in its current location. Picture: Greg Macvean
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FIRE bosses are being urged to think again over the future of Edinburgh’s Museum of Fire in Lauriston Place, which they plan to sell off in a cost-cutting exercise.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has said the unique collection of old fire engines and other historic equipment – celebrating the Capital’s role as home of the first municipal fire brigade – will be relocated within the city.

The fire museum is a historic asset to the city and I’m not hearing anything concrete from the fire service that it will really remain as an asset to the city.

Cammy Day

But Cammy Day, the council’s community safety leader, says it should stay in the city centre where visitors will come to see it. And he argues its current home, the old Central Fire Station, is the right place for it.

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The issue will be discussed by councillors next week after Cllr Day tabled a motion at a previous meeting hailing the “fantastic learning experience” offered by the museum.

He said: “The fire museum is a historic asset to the city and I’m not hearing anything concrete from the fire service that it will really remain as an asset to the city. The SFRS says it is looking for other locations for the museum, but it has historic significance with the current building.”

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Cllr Day had also raised questions about the ownership of the Lauriston Place property.

A report by officials says the fire station was built on land acquired by the Lord Provost and Magistrates of the City of Edinburgh in the mid-19th century, but the right of ownership of properties used in firefighting had been passed to various fire authorities down the years and now rested with SFRS.

However, the legal title to the building is still registered in the name of the Lord Provost.

Nevertheless, the report concludes: “In effect, the registered title has not caught up with the actual legal position. Accordingly, the council no longer has an interest in the property.”

Cllr Day said ownership was a key point. “I’m not sure we have got to the bottom of that yet,” he said. “I’m not sure we have clarified the legal ownership. We need to be absolutely confident about that.”

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And he called for the council, the SFRS, the Scottish Government, the museum service and interested heritage bodies to get together to disucss how they could guarantee the future of the museum.

“If there are enough people round the table, surely we can find a way to retain this historic asset for the city and the country.”

Green councillor Melanie Main said: “Edinburgh is rightly proud of its history of having the first publicly run fire brigade in Europe, and the first fire station on Lauriston Place is a much-loved city landmark.

“While I’m pleased the new SFRS is committed to keeping a Museum of Fire within the city, I very much hope that, if a better alternative cannot be found, it will allow the museum to stay in its historic home.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com